Here's the problem. I had a bunch of files in a directory. Then I created another directory in that directory. Then I cobbled together this command:

find . -maxdepth 1 -type f -exec mv {} ./1 \;

This command was supposed to take all the files in the directory and move them to that newly-created directory, but instead of providing the name of the directory, I screwed up and typed 1, as you can see from the code snippet. So, I ended up having just one text file named 1 that now contains the stuff from one of the disappeared files and that's all.

Is there any chance I could recover the lost files (or possibly the actual data from the files--they were all text files) or are they pretty much permanently gone?


misha@hp-laptop:~/Documents/prgmg/work$ ls
add.s  bubble.s  cpuid.s  div.s    hello.s  mult.s       sum.s   test.s
a.out  c         demo.s   gas.txt  max.s    print_arr.s  test.c
misha@hp-laptop:~/Documents/prgmg/work$ mkdir asm


misha@hp-laptop:~/Documents/prgmg/work$ ls
1  asm  c

So, as you can see, I wanted to put all assembly language files into the asm directory. And as things stand now, 1 is a text file and it contains the stuff from gas.txt.

  • I have mistyped directory names many times and moved or copied a file into a filename instead of directory. To avoid this I have begun to always place a trailing slash "/" so that I would get an error that the directory doesn't exist if I mistype the directory name. Or at worst, it will go into a wrong directory. – L. D. James Jul 14 '16 at 23:24

You have lost ALL but the last file offered up by find, it is now called ./1. Note that find finds files in its own order, so "last" doesn't mean what you think. By inserting an echo in front of the mv, we see:

Script started on Thu 14 Jul 2016 07:02:01 PM EDT
+w3@aardvark:~(0)$ mkdir tmp/answer
+w3@aardvark:~(0)$ cd !$
cd tmp/answer
+w3@aardvark:~/tmp/answer(0)$ for i in a b c d; do
> mkdir $i
> done
+w3@aardvark:~/tmp/answer(0)$ for i in a/1 b/2 c/3 d/4 a/0 ; do
> touch $i
> done
+w3@aardvark:~/tmp/answer(0)$ touch 9 8 7 6
+w3@aardvark:~/tmp/answer(0)$ find . -maxdepth 1 -type f -exec echo mv {} ./1 \;
mv ./8 ./1
mv ./6 ./1
mv ./9 ./1
mv ./7 ./1
+w3@aardvark:~/tmp/answer(0)$ exit

Script done on Thu 14 Jul 2016 07:05:21 PM EDT

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